Last Friday, the famously left-wing actress Alyssa Milano raised eyebrows with a bold strategy for repealing restrictions on abortion in the United States: a sex strike. “Our reproductive rights are being erased,” she wrote, specifically reacting to a new law in Georgia that prohibits abortion after a baby’s heartbeat has been detected. “Until women have legal control over our own bodies we just cannot risk pregnancy. JOIN ME by not having sex until we get bodily autonomy back. I’m calling for a #SexStrike.”
Almost immediately, fellow film actress Bette Midler joined the sex strike, evoking unpleasant images in the minds of readers across the nation. “I hope the #womenofGeorgia stop having sex with men until these indignities are overturned,” she declared. So how has the leftist women’s sex strike turned out?
As ever, the celebrity activists seem not to have considered the implications of their actions. Here are seven ways in which the sex strikers undercut their own argument:
1. In order to pressure pro-lifers into repealing abortion restrictions, the sex strike calls on women to practice chastity, thereby reducing the number of overall abortions. Social conservatives have been advocating a return to chastity since the Sexual Revolution of the 1960s shattered centuries of sexual mores. Less casual sex means fewer unwanted pregnancies, achieving a reduction in the number of overall abortions by personal discipline rather than legislation.
2. The strike compels women who support abortion but would not procure one themselves to stop having sex, thereby reducing the number of parents with children they might teach to support abortion rights. According to Gallup polling, 71% of teenagers hold the same political and social views as their parents. While other studies have challenged this association between the political views of parents and their children, lower birthrates among abortion supporters suggests a lower likelihood of those views persisting throughout future generations.
3. Conservative men still get to sleep with their conservative wives. The sex strike only affects the henpecked partners of women who would go on a sex strike for abortion in the first place. Does Alyssa Milano hope that by cutting off her Hollywood liberal husband she will thereby pressure him to move to Georgia, run for the state legislature, win, and then vote to repeal the recent abortion law? Does she think Georgia legislators care whether or not Alyssa Milano sleeps with her husband?
4. If women uniformly supported abortion, they wouldn’t need to deprive men of sex to change the laws—they could simply vote. Women make up the majority of the U.S. population, outnumbering men by just under 5 million as of 2013. They also vote at higher rates, constituting 53% of voters in the 2018 midterm elections. State legislatures have been rolling back abortion rights, not in spite of women voters, but in large part because of them. Public opinion polls have found no significant difference in abortion views among men and women, and one survey conducted by Democratic pollster Celinda Lake concluded that “women are much less likely to be pro-choice” than men.
5. The strike proposes to give women control over their own bodies by telling women what to do with their own bodies, a strategy that is neither coherent nor terribly woke.
6. The sex strike presumes straight, monogamous sex to be the norm. The strike only works if men desire sex from women. How do lesbians fit into the sex strike? How about gay men? Not only does Milano ignore the existence of more imaginative sexual preferences, she also assumes categorically that women support abortion and men oppose it, neither of which are true.
7. Proponents of women’s sexual liberation now admit that casual sex serves primarily to pleasure men. Traditional moral views placed the conception of a child at the heart of the sexual act. With the advent of mass-produced contraception and legal abortion, pleasure supplanted procreation as the primary purpose of sex. The sex strike takes this shift to its logical conclusion by observing that men receive greater physical pleasure from sex than women, and women risk far more by engaging in casual sex than men. Alyssa Milano would be hard-pressed to find a social conservative who disagrees.
Milano’s sex strike has struggled to get off the ground, even among her ideological fellow travelers. The writer Kristi Coulter protested, “Living under patriarchy has already robbed me of safety, autonomy, opportunities, and trust in our institutions. Now I’m supposed to give up sex, too, and play into the fiction that it’s just a bargaining chip/transaction for women? Love you, but nope.”
Columnist Jamilah Lemieux asked, “You want me to deny myself the one pleasure men offer because what now[?]”
The age-old truth reveals itself in the end: we will never have a gender war because everyone is sleeping with the enemy.